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The Role of Bifidobacterium in COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Taufer et al., Life, doi:10.3390/life13091847
Aug 2023  
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Review of studies investigating the relationship between the gut bacteria genus Bifidobacterium and COVID-19. Observational studies found that lower abundance of Bifidobacterium was associated with more severe COVID-19. Interventional studies evaluating Bifidobacterium probiotics for COVID-19 patients showed benefits including reduced symptoms, inflammation, and mortality. Potential mechanisms include Bifidobacterium's ability to modulate immune response, reduce inflammation, outcompete pathogens, and maintain gut barrier integrity.
The immune effects of probiotics are strain-specific.
Taufer et al., 31 Aug 2023, peer-reviewed, 2 authors.
Contact: (corresponding author).
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The Role of Bifidobacterium in COVID-19: A Systematic Review
Clarissa Reginato Taufer, Pabulo Henrique Rampelotto
Life, doi:10.3390/life13091847
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, mainly causes respiratory and intestinal symptoms and changes in the microbiota of patients. We performed a systematic search in major databases using "Bifidobacterium" and "COVID-19" or "SARS-CoV-2" as key terms to assess the relationship of the genus to COVID-19. After the selection steps, 25 articles were analyzed. Of these, eighteen were observational, and seven were interventional articles that evaluated the use of Bifidobacterium alone or in mix as probiotics for additional treatment of patients with COVID-19. All stages and severities were contemplated, including post-COVID-19 patients. Overall, Bifidobacterium was associated with both protective effects and reduced abundance in relation to the disease. The genus has been found to be abundant in some cases and linked to disease severity. The studies evaluating the use of Bifidobacterium as probiotics have demonstrated the potential of this genus in reducing symptoms, improving pulmonary function, reducing inflammatory markers, alleviating gastrointestinal symptoms, and even contributing to better control of mortality. In summary, Bifidobacterium may offer protection against COVID-19 through its ability to modulate the immune response, reduce inflammation, compete with pathogenic microbes, and maintain gut barrier function. The findings provide valuable insights into the relationship between the disease and the genus Bifidobacterium, highlighting the potential of microbiota modulation in the treatment of COVID-19.
Author Contributions: C.R.T.: Data collection and analysis, writing (original draft). P.H.R.: Conceptualization, supervision, analysis of results, and writing (revision). All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Funding: C.R.T. is the recipient of a CAPES grant (nº 88887.513461/2020-00). P.H.R. is the recipient of a CAPES grant (nº 88887.798411/2022-00). Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable. Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.
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